All new homes and buildings in the Peace River Regional District (PRRD), including rural areas, will require building permits and must be inspected by next month.
The building bylaw will come into effect on March 18, and will reflect the updated 2012 B.C. Building Code.
Wayne Hiebert, Area D director of the PRRD, said that previous legislation usually covered certain pieces of rural land, such as those pieces of land close to highway. This new legislation will affect every piece of land in the PRRD's borders.
"With rapid growth and investment in the region, public and financial expectations for meeting minimum construction standards and safety have also increased," said Karen Goodings, PRRD district chair.
"This new building bylaw responds to those expectations and fairly applies building inspection requirements for everyone."
These codes are meant to provide uniform safety standards in case of fire or other potential problems that could arise within a home or other building.
The move was also done to ensure a more uniform application of the inspection and permit laws.
Hiebert also said that he supported the move.
"I think it will in the long term prove beneficial to the constituents out there," he added. "Right off the hand, it doesn't look that way, but in terms of insuring a house, a whole number of things become more positive in that respect."
The hope is that this building inspection will also make sure that property owners can more easily obtain a mortgage.
Building permits that property owners obtained before March 18 will not require a new building permit or re-inspection. Hiebert said that buildings that have been built before the new bylaw came into effect will not require re-inspection or a building permit, as they have been grandfathered in.
However, new homes or buildings that do not have a building permit will have a fine and a stop work order will be issued. This fine is a minimum of $200, according to the PRRD.
These homeowners will have to pay for these building inspectors, said Hiebert. The cost would vary depending on the type of building they are looking to inspect.
These building inspectors can enter homes at any reasonable time to ensure that the bylaws are being observed. These building inspectors will have proper credentials, and will provide notice to the homeowner 24 hours beforehand, according to the PRRD.
An accessory building 200 square feet or larger, or one that has gas and electricity, requires a building permit. Decks over two feet require building permits, retaining walls over 1.2 metres in height, solid fuel burning appliances like a wood stove, and sheds over 200 square feet will also require a permit.
Home owners will need to talk with a building inspector to determine if farm buildings, barns, and other agricultural buildings require a permit.
In order to get a permit, people can get them online at www.prrd.bc.ca. People can also get them at the Dawson Creek and Fort St. John PRRD offices, or at the Chetwynd Village Office.